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US Cyclocross Championships - CN

Providence, RI, USA, December 9-11, 2005

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Race 10 - December 10: Elite Men (US Title),  U23 Men and Junior Men

Complete live report

Commentary by Steve Medcroft

11:49 EST   
Good morning world. Our live coverage of the Liberty Mutual U.S. Cyclocross National Championships will get started shortly. We'll begin with the Elite men's U23 race which has been moved from noon to 1pm Eastern Standard U.S. time. The fifty-minute U23 race will be followed at 2pm by the forty-minute Junior men ELite (17-18 years old) and then at 3pm with the sixty-minute Elite men's race.

Course and weather conditions are dramatically different than the end-of-the-world snowstorm that caused promoters to postpone the last two races of the day (see Saturday's news item). Those postponed races were run this morning, causing the schedule changes and adjustments that delayed the U23 race.

Today, the skies are clear and the temperature is two degrees above freezing so the hard-packed snow that covered the course yesterday and froze overnight has been cut to apple sauce and kicked out of the rider's lanes so we're now seeing finisher's in the morning's races splattered in mud and desperate for dry clothing.

12:06 EST   
A handful of championship jerseys have already been handed out this weekend. Here's a summary:

Women 40-44, Audrey Huffman (Mad River Riders)
Women 45-49, Patti Kaufmann (Team Wisconsin)
Women 50-54, Tove Shere (team Ochsner)
Women 55+, Betty Jordan (Velo Bella)
Men 35-39, Shannon Skerritt (VANILLA BICYCLES)
Men 40-44, Dale Knapp (Kona)
Men 45-49, Steve Tilford (Verge/Shimano)

The awards for this morning's juniors, collegiate and Men 30-34 are happening in the next thirty minutes. We'll ring you those national champions shortly.

12:53 EST   
While the U23 men warm up on the sloppy course, here are the national champions from this morning's races:

Men, Brent Bookwalter
Women, Melodie Metzger
Omnium, Fort Lewis College

Junior Men:
10-12, Logan Owen
13-14, Benny Swedelberg
15-16, Alex Coelho

Junior Women:
10-12, Elizabeth White
13-14, Kaitlin Antonneua
15-16, Smantha Schneider
17-18, Arielle Filiberti

U23, Clara Beard
30-34, Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications)
35-39, Marianne Stover (Independent Fabrications)

Men 30-34, Justin Robinson (California Giant Strawberries/Specialized)

14:51 EST   
The men are starting to roll to the start line. Chris Horner just passed our position. Barry Wicks and Ryan Trebon are there. Tim Johnson looks focused and prepared. I haven't seen Jonathan Page yet. Rumor has it that he had to visit a local hospital yesterday after falling ill so we're looking to see his face on the start.

14:52 EST   
For those of you who tried the promoter's audio feed (in a second browser window of course), I gave the wrong url before. Try www.cyclocrossnationals.com.

14:59 EST    60mins/0mins to go
The front row has been called up:

Mark McCormack
Ryan Trebon
Tim Johnson
Jonathan Page
Todd Wells
Adam Craig
Michael Cody
Matt White
Jeremy Powers
Jonathan Baker
Erik Tonkin
Jonathan Hamblen
Matt Shriver

15:03 EST    0mins/60mins to go
The men are away. Michael Cody, Matt White, Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon, Todd Wells are off the front.

15:05 EST   
The course is fast and wide open by now; not quite as wet and definately not frozen any more. The leaders are trading places. Trebon and Wicks are currently policing the front. Page, Wells, Cody and White are just behind.

15:09 EST    5mins/55mins to go
Ryan Trebon is in front of the lead group. Adam Craig, Mark McCormack and Jeremy Powers behind.

15:11 EST   
The first lap was completed by Ryan Trebon in just under seven minutes. To put that in perspective, laps in the master's 30-34 race were running at aout nine minutes.

Trebon and Wells are trading the lead ten seconds ahead of Page. Barry Wicks is three seconds back. Adam Craig is dangling just behind.

15:13 EST    10mins/50mins to go
Tim Johnson, a pre-race favorite and 2001 national champion, is back in about tenth place.

15:16 EST   
Page is chasing hard and looks like he can catch Trebon and Wells. Adam Craig, who is coming out of the middle of an off-season and is somehow finding the fitness to hang at the front of the race, just behind Page.

15:18 EST   
Now that the lap times have een set, the total lap count for the Elite men's race has been calcultaed; when riders come through the start/finish area in about four minutes, there will be five laps to go in the race.

15:19 EST   
Todd Wells, Ryan Trebon and Jonathan Page are all toghether through the start/finish. The next rider, Adam Craig, looks smooth and strong on the pavement but it an almist unsurmountable fifteen seconds back.

Page, who has consistently placed ahead of Trebon in European cyclocross this season, needs to be smart and manage resources that may be affected by whatever ilness sent him to the hospital yesterday.

15:22 EST    20mins/40mins to go
A cover of clouds has moved over the venue and the temperatures are dropping so the course may change slightly and some of the technical sections, which had become tacky and rideable in the sun, will harden back up and become more precarious.

15:25 EST    22mins/38mins to go
At the front of the race, Wells has taken a flyer but Trebon was able to cover it with Page clingin to his wheel. For the past three years, Trebon and Wells have only known Page from the back of his jersey (Page won all three races solo) so the wild card that may determine the outcome in this race is how affected Page is from his illness. Does he have the energy reserves to keep this kind of effort up? He definately seems to be on the defense.

15:26 EST    23mins/37mins to go
Adam Craig is finding lines that are bringing him back onto the lead group. If he catches on, there could be three domestic cyclocrossers fighting Page for their shot at a jersey.

15:28 EST   
Four laps to go - Page's eyes are steeled and he's turning the wheels but Wells and Trebon have put a gap on him along the finishing straight. Page looks like he's trying to hold himself together and keep himself connected.

15:29 EST    27mins/33mins to go
Of the two leaders, Wells seems to be the main aggressor, taking multi bike-length attacks and causing Trebon to burn tons of energy to catch back on.

15:30 EST    29mins/31mins to go
Page has caught onto Trebon. Wells has a tenuous gap.

15:33 EST    32mins/28mins to go
Wells is holding a three-second gap over Trebon and Page has fallen back to ten seconds. The ground is starting to harden in spots but the leaders don't seem to be taking any precautions. The throttles are wide open.

15:37 EST    35mins/25mins to go
Wells has opened his gap to twenty seconds and looks smooth and comfortable. Trebon passed the three-laps-to-go sign shaking his head. Page was three seconds off his wheel. If Wells wins the Elite race, it will be his second Elite national championship and will be a matched set to his younger brother Troy's U23 national championship, earned just two hours ago.

15:38 EST   
Reader Rob Ens is listening in Calgary and says: "This is an exciting race. Let's go wells!!!"

15:39 EST    40mins/20mins to go
A world-class crowd has come together for the pinultimate race; they're two deep lining all of the visible sections of the course from this vantage point.

15:41 EST    41mins/19mins to go
Wells is holding his advantage. With only two and a half laps to go, he's easily forty seconds up on Ryan Trebon. Page has dropped off Trebon's wheel and sits fifteen seconds further back. We may be seeing the shape of the podium right now!

15:43 EST   
John Van Pee writes from Belgium that he hoped Page can come back and "kill them all." Page is very popular with fans in his winter homeland. Sorry John, it looks like intercontinental travel and illness have chopped about ten percent of Page's ability. But this is cyclocross and the course is freezing over so we'll see!

15:45 EST    44mins/16mins to go
Wells is out on the second to last lap. Trebon is charging through the straight away, seemingly renewed. Page is way off Trebon's pace but keeping enough distance ahead of Adam Craig that he should secure an uncharacteristic third place.

15:46 EST    46mins/14mins to go
Trebon just took a bike change so he can finish the race on a clean bike.

15:49 EST   
Readers want to know the top ten or twenty as they sit. I'll try and post it after the finish. Mike Whitman of Sterling, Virginia specifically wanted to know where Mark McCormack was. Twenty riders have passed the start/finish line heading out for the second to last lap and we haven't seen him yet (we may have missed him).

15:49 EST    49mins/11mins to go
Ryan Trebon is closing the gap to Todd Wells but he may just run out of race before he can climb all the way back.

15:50 EST    50mins/10mins to go
Trebon is gaining ground, big-ringing the final quarter of the second-to-last lap.

15:52 EST    53mins/7mins to go
One lap to go for Todd Wells and through the start/finish, Trebon is gaining even more ground; only ten seconds back now.

15:53 EST   
Wells' face is completely red from the cold but he looks in control. Trebon is absolutely pressing though, pushing the biggeset gear we've seen on any rider's bike this weekend.

15:54 EST   
Page is now a minute off the lead and out of contention for the win. It's a two-man race for the Elite men's natonal championship.

15:56 EST    55mins/5mins to go
Wells is half way through the final lap. Trebon is still off his back by seven seconds or so; after almost catching Wells, he dropped a chain running over two barriers and fell back a step.

15:57 EST   
A group of Trebon fans are holding a huge banner at the finish line for their favorite rider; it says "Tree Farm, Take 'Em To The Woods."

15:58 EST    58mins/2mins to go
Trebon is just three seconds back. Wells is aware of the chase and is fighting to stay ahead. There's less than half a lap to go. This may come down to a sprint!!

15:59 EST   
They're almost to the final straight. Wells has five seconds.

16:00 EST    60mins/0mins to go
Trebon is four bike lengths behind coming onto the straight.

But Todd Wells is the 2005 U.S. Cyclocross National Champion!

16:02 EST   
Wells hoists his bike above his head to celebrate his second Elite national championship. At the finsh, he said "The course was super slick... we were fighting the whole way..."

Ryan Trebon took second.
John Page just finished in third.

16:03 EST   
Adam Craig held on for fourth.

16:04 EST   
Fifth, Tim Johnson
Sixth, Barry Wicks

16:06 EST   
Seventh, Erik Tonkin
Eigth, Tristan Shouten
Ninth, Mark McCormack
Tenth, John Baker
Eleventh, Michael Gallagher

16:08 EST   
Well, that's it for our live coverage today. Jonathan Page's reign of U.S. national championships was brought to an end by mountain-biker Todd Wells of Durango, Colorado. Check back on Cyclingnews for full results and more coherent race reports as we get them produced tonight.

Check back tomorrow for live coverage from the Elte women's race. We'll be starting at 1:30pm (2pm race).

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